|Temple leads the all-time series with Cincinnati, 9-4-1|
If Saturday’s game with Cincinnati comes down to a kick, chances are Temple will sign off on that right now. Heck, the Owls are 11-point underdogs.
The Owls have a great kicker in Brandon McManus, who already has the pressure of a game-winning OT kick under his belt.
|Brandon McManus: Needs only eight points to become
Temple’s all-time scoring leader. If the Owls throw
play-action passes on first down and make Cincy defend
the entire field, he could do it this weekend.
If past games with Cincinnati are a yardstick, it just might come down to the length of a leg.
Field goals have played a big role in the series, which Temple leads, 9-4-1.
Probably the most famous kick came in the series only tie, 17-17, on Oct. 29, 1977.
A year earlier, Temple coach Wayne Hardin eschewed an extra-point attempt by kicker Wes Sornisky in an attempt to beat Penn State on the final play of the game. The two-point conversion pass went off the hands of the Temple receiver and the Owls lost, 31-30.
“A tie is like kissing your sister,” Hardin said afterward. “I felt the kids came too far and deserved the chance to win.”
Facing a similar situation the next season at Nippert Stadium, Hardin went for the tie, a 33-yard field goal by Sornisky.
It was good and the teams walked off the field with a 17-17 tie. It was Cincinnati’s second 17-17 tie that year. The Bearcats tied Louisville in an earlier game.
Afterward, a famous photo of Sornisky, who ironically wore No. 17, was published with him whispering something in Hardin’s ear. (I can’t find that photo, but I have a request in for it.)
“I asked him if this was like kissing your sister,” Wes said.
|Don Bitterlich went on to
an NFL career with Seahawks.
It was probably like kissing your half-sister from Temple’s point of view because the Owls came from down 11 points in the fourth quarter to get in a position for a tie. That year, Cincinnati lost by two points to a Maryland team that finished No. 13 in the nation.
Sornisky was a great kicker for Hardin, who helped the Owls set what was then an NCAA record for consecutive extra points (106) that was snapped earlier that season.
Another kick that factored into a memorable Temple vs. Cincy game came in 1974.
The Owls had a nation’s best 14-game winning streak and Don Bitterlich, who still holds the school record for longest field goal (56).
That Monday’s Temple News sported the headline: OWLS TASTE BITTER-LICK OF DEFEAT FOR FIRST TIME. (Don’t know why, but the old clipping had Don missing a 44-yard FG. An Associated Press account of that game shows no TU field goals missed.)
Temple also won the 1978 game on a field goal, 16-13.
Missed field goals also factored into the last game played between the teams in 2003.
That game, on a Saturday night at unbeaten 13-point favorite Cincinnati, featured missed field goals from 37 and 24 yards by the Owls’ kicker. Temple, with a 24-10 fourth quarter lead, threw a bomb on 2nd and 2. Incomplete, of course. The Owls also threw three passes when they had a first-and-goal on the Cincinnati 2.
INCOMPLETE, of course, and the missed kicks had everything to do with a 30-24 double-overtime loss.
Now if the Owls can just put McManus in a position to win, they’ve got to feel good about their chances.
Interestingly enough, McManus and Sornisky went to North Penn High School and Bitterlich, a William Tennent grad, lives nearby in the Wissahickon School District.